I love to bike in the city. Lots of days my commute is the highlight of the day. I bike for freedom, for space, for feeling apart from the city. I guess I always knew in the back of my mind that biking in a city like New York could go very wrong. Taxis are notoriously careless. On Friday morning, I unfortunately experienced this version the story. I got hit while riding down 7th Avenue (in front of the Sheraton Hotel on 53rd Street) on my way to work.
It was rush hour traffic and a cab who was picking up some people in front of the hotel merged into the lane where I was riding, and right into me on my bike. I flew off and landed heavily on my right knee and when I made contact with the street I felt my leg twist underneath my knee and rotate all the way around until I was lying on my back. My knee contorted in ways I didn't think possible.
I shouted to the people who came rushing around me not to touch my leg, as they wanted to move me off the street. They stood in a circle to form a protective barrier against the cars that were flowing fast down Seventh Avenue in the lane I had fallen. I was terrified of being hit again before they did this. I stayed there on the ground until police and an ambulance arrived. A nice gentleman put a briefcase under my head and someone else covered me with his coat. Another lady held my hand and told me it would be OK.
I refused the ambulance. I couldn't feel pain at some point. After a long time on the ground, I stood up and after they took my vital signs, I walked away with my bike. With so much adrenaline pumping through me I thought I was fine - just really scared. At some point I stopped to examine my bicycle. As I stood there I felt my right leg buckle and my knee move horizontally/violently toward the right. It made me feel ill - it was such a strange and uncomfortable feeling. People along the way stopped me to ask if I was OK and if they could help me. I must have looked ghastly.
I began to feel a tremendous amount of pain when I sat down in the chair in my office and elevated my knee, which began to swell significantly. I also started sobbing as the full shock of what had happened wore off somewhat. By the time my coworkers and I had determined a plan I could hardly get up. I went downstairs with my boss to go to a hospital.
The MRI results confirmed the there had been a full tear of the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) - that it had snapped in half and there were also tears in two other ligaments in the knee. These injuries will require surgery and months of rehabilitation. So unfortunate.
The whole thing made me feel really mad at New York City. It felt like such a cruel and unrelenting place. I know it isn't the city's fault, but while I was sprawled flat on Seventh Avenue, staring up at high rise buildings and faces circling around me, I wondered why I live in a place where riding a bike to work is such a hazardous proceeding. Now I am less mad at the city and more mad at the driver, but still.
I am mostly grateful for the rest of my body, for my girls, for family, friends, wonderful humans who surround me. I came home, asked for little Romy and kissed her rolls of fat and said hallelujah - sang a song of praise, because I know these accidents don't always end in the ability to walk away (even with a wrecked knee).